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Our drummer is too loud. Crazy right?

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  • nightingale
    replied
    Firstly, I can only recommend custom made earplugs. Even drums with reasonable volume can do damage to your ears if you're on a small stage.
    There are different filters available. I use the standard with a reduction of 15 dB, but there are filters with more and less reduction.
    Now for the drummer: in my opinion, drummer creates problem. So it's the drummer who needs to figure out how to fix problem. It may sound cruel, but as been already said - I played live and studio with a lot of drummer and the one I consider professional always play with a lot of dynamic.

    Leave a comment:


  • seanmichaels
    replied
    Originally posted by jduncan53818 View Post
    I know, its nothing too crazy that the drummer is causing problems by being too loud. But its a problem that can really cause difficulties with the worship when the drums are drowning out the rest of the sound. He is behind a cage with a top, but it is not closed off in the back because we don't have enough room. It gets very loud in there so he wears noise cancelling AUVIO headphones which plugs into the sound system so he can hear everything. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where he can cut down on his sound and also hear how loud he is being as well?
    This most likely won't be a popular solution (at least to the drummer), but if they can use Hot Rods (bundled dowel sticks), they will play significantly quieter.

    Leave a comment:


  • veecharlie
    replied
    Hi!

    As a drummer, this is a very complicated issue. Many times it's not the fault of the drummer itself.

    First of all, we should understand the instrument, to then be able to work around and be able to fix this issue.

    It's a loud, ok VERY loud instrument.
    It ranges (depending on the dynamics of the drummer, drum shells, cymbal types, drum heads, etc) between 90db and 120db. (Yea, that's enough to cause hearing loss). But here is the bigger problem: On the kit itself, there is not really much we can do to really reduce this loud noise. We can tweak pitch, sustain, etc. but we can't really significantly affect the volume. Many try to "dampen" cymbals, which is a very bad habit as the cymbal can't vibrate freely, by the construction of metals, it will break sooner or late. It also sounds very harsh and pretty much like a trash bin, so the complains won't stop.

    What we normally do is to put the famous "screen" or acrylic wall around us. The problem is that this might very efficiently help and reduce noise in the front, but noise it's a wave and propagates everywhere, so where it goes, it goes. So technically, an acrylic screen only helps to the front rows, helps to control it a bit better from the sound engineer's perspective, but not around the kit. Those sound waves will still be "leaking" around.

    That's why it's very important that (if the budget allows), completely isolate the drumkit. Nowadays they build 360 cages, there are also very nice models available on the market and this allows to have full control on the sound. Especially at the point where the average db of a small (let's say 250 people) worship service is around 95db, the kit will with no doubt dominate and override the other instruments. The only way to control this (taking in count you want your drummer to stay with an acoustic kit) is an enclosed cage.
    There are also ways to do this kind of projects as DIY. It might save you money or have more freedom to adapt to your space.

    Another thing which is very important, is to teach the drummer the proper sticking technique for great dynamics. This can help reduce volume too! Mostly help the drummer being confortable, it's not easy to perform in the same way with different dynamics, and that's what requires work. Most of the times when we receive a complain is due to a missunderstanding of the instrument itself. Ok, there are also drummers that don't care how they play, etc. But let's assume your drummer knows what he does, the best way to help him out is to help him search videos and resources that will help him develop that skill. One thing that helps on dynamics for example, is the choice of thinner (especially lighter) drumsticks. I'm currently using the CooperGrooves 7A for worship most of the time together with the ProMark Rebound Balance 7A.

    When I play in a very small enviroment, I make sure my dynamics are good and place the kit into a corner of the auditorium so that I can place the acrylic screen enclosing myself with it. Sound leaks on the top, but it will make a huge difference and will help out on controlling the sound. (See picture below) If the venue is smaller than 150 seats, I normally select dry/dark cymbals, take all crashes away (only hihat and a big ride), take all toms away and leave just raw basics: snare, kick, floor tom. Might as well use brushes or other types of drumsticks.

    I have seen many drummers apply these techniques, and many others not really caring about it. I think a part of being a good drummer is to be able to adapt to any situation in the best of our abilities.


    IMG_1913.JPG


    I hope it helps,
    blessings
    Valentina.

    Leave a comment:


  • Robina Mallon
    replied
    I also agree that it's a major element of learning for the drummer to be able to play and adapt to the setting. This is a common theme for drummers across all types of settings. It is fair to say that technology and headphones can get in the way, but the drummer still needs to be able to adapt to the tools they are using, otherwise the technology is making them lowering the quality of their drumming.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mcarlson04
    replied
    There are a number of good ideas coming across here. But experience is a key ingredient here. I have a tendency to be heavy handed at times--holdover from drum corps days--but as I teach our new drummers you are part of a team, a ministry. The focus must be on His Spirit flowing through you, not the pounding of your drums. We are big on dynamics, which usually comes as a culture shock to most drums we audition.

    As part of the orientation period for new drummers we emphasize the teamwork aspect--listen to each other, feel where the singer is going, know when less is more. Also, dynamics, dynamics, dynamics. Finally, realize you are NOT a living jukebox, but a member of a worship team an essential part of the Sunday service--and no less important than the worship teams David identified in 2 Chronicles.

    Leave a comment:


  • mikegraff
    replied
    This was touched on a little bit already - is it true that the drummer is actually too loud decibel-wise, or is he just too loud compared to the rest of the band? If you have decibel room to work with, I would turn UP everyone else to match the noise floor of the drums and go from there. We did that at our church and it worked wonders. By turning everything else up, we got the drums to a place where they fit well in the mix, and we still aren't even barely hitting 90dB. It's great!

    Leave a comment:


  • PlayTheSong
    replied
    As both a drummer and a sound guy, I have this quirky theory that most audio problems in a small-to-medium church are caused by using too much audio technology. The moment you put the drummer in a cage and put headphones on him, you prevent him from ever learning how to adjust his own dynamics to the group. Besides church, I play drums in a local concert band where 30 people manage to play together and balance their sound with absolutely no amplification, no monitors, no headphones, no cages. Sadly, inexperienced drummers play too loud, so irritated elders cage them up and by the time an experienced drummer comes around the battle lines have already been drawn. Leave the back of the cage open, take the drummer's headphones off and tell him to play quietly. Give him a monitor if absolutely necessary, but it's better if he balances his volume to what he can hear leaking into his cage. If he can't hear them he's too loud. My 2 cents.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chords
    replied
    As a drummer I experienced this one and yes it is really difficult to control especially you are in the climax of worship or a song while thinking about Psalm 150:5 yeah it is really difficult. But being then i realized that i'm the only one playing and i need to play with the team. Playing with a worship team also is not like playing in mainstream wherein you need to showcase your talent. The low profile you play the better, and it is the softer while hitting every note and giving a good beat to the rest of the team that is what we need to do.

    So I practice and reconsider everything starting from discipline, and playing along with the worship team under a good volume.

    now about the set up.. if you have freedom with your e quipment the better. You can use light stick such as 7a. Use darker cymbals such as Zildjian's K series or Sabian HHX series. With your drumhead you can use dark skin such as Emperor X remo (coated).

    Leave a comment:


  • Baconbacon
    replied
    I would address it head-on, kindly explain to the drummer that 100% volume isn't always musical etc. If he can't take that kind of constructive criticism maybe it's not time for him to serve, or maybe needs more practice & understanding of songs, & learn to be sensitive to what's happening in the worship time.
    As a hard-hitting (loud) drummer myself, I would also recommend smaller, lighter sticks or brushes as others mentioned. There's a time & place for loud/quiet percussion. Everyone should play at appropriate levels.
    Praise God.

    Leave a comment:


  • rundmc
    replied
    If you have him parallel with a wall that is going to amplify the sound especially if he is in a cage, try angling the set. Also it is not unusual for drummers to need headphones to hear, particularly in a cage, I have never played with one who didn't need ears from the board to hear. Another thing you could do is talk with him before or after rehearsals and stress dynamics, telling him exactly what you want will help, then debrief what he did well and what he can improve on, if you know what you want and can communicate it to him that will make a world of difference. This, however, require that you have a basic understanding and vocabulary of drumming from the kit perspective. Best of luck!

    Leave a comment:


  • 12strings
    replied
    We have had good success in our church (200 attending, room will probably seat almost 300) with our acoustic set, but a lot that is due to a good all-around musician as the drummer who uses ONLY rods (both Hot and Cool). We also took some time and some strategically placed gaffers tape to tune the drums and cut down on some of the extra ringing.

    Acoustic Drums: No mics, not shield, no headphones or earbuds, has a hot-spot monitor to hear the worship leader's guitar and voice, not much else goes in there.
    Bass guitar: medium sized bass amp linked to a larger subwoofer.
    Acoustic Guitar: Direct box into sound system.
    Grand piano: Miced into sound system, personal hot spot monitor.
    Vocalists: mics
    Electric Keyboard: Direct box into sound system
    (Bass, singers, keyboard, guitarist all hear from 2 main floor wedge monitors....Bass and drums are next to each other and can hear fine.)

    The whole volume is not turned up that high, even though we obviously have to set levels to fit the drum set...with the rods it is not that high.

    We only use a partial drum shield a few times a year near Christmas and Easter when we have a choir, We put it on one side of the drums to keep the cymbals from bleeding into the choir mics.

    It may bug those used to in-ears, but it works for us, and We like the "live" "acoustic" feel of it.

    Leave a comment:


  • DunedinDragon
    replied
    One thing you learn fairly quickly about electronic modeling whether it be on an amplifier or a drum kit is you have to expect to do some learning on how to adjust the parameters because the factory presets are never going to be adequate. The modeling software these days is pretty sophisticated and you can get these systems to come so close they'll fool the vast majority of the people that hear them in double blind tests. But it takes time and patience to learn how to adjust all the parameters to get the sound where you want it.

    On our Roland TD-15KV we don't use any of the factory presets. We purchased a set of after-market presets from V-Expressions LTD. These are MUCH better researched and baselined against real sets of typical drums (Rogers, Ludwig, Gretch, etc.) and provided a better starting point than the factory presets. The only thing we've really had to adjust is the volume level and ambience of the cymbals and high hat to better emulate the sound produced when you mic actual cymbals and high-hats in a recording studio. It's also important in modeling to be consistent with your approach across the band. In our case we use modeling extensively on the various instruments, but we chose to focus on reproducing a studio-based sound rather than a live sound.

    You have to bear in mind that realistic modeling is based on processing power, and we can all attest to the leaps in processing power we've seen in typical off-the-shelf computers in the last several years. The same progress has been made in the digital processors used for modeling.

    You're always going to have the purists who claim they can hear the difference. But it's always amazing how many of these purists get fooled when confronted with a double blind test on YouTube.
    Last edited by DunedinDragon; 05-29-2014, 01:47 AM.

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  • Mike on Bass
    replied
    I agree, there is a distinct difference in e-drums. Some things don't sound the same and it does take time to get used to. On a good set of e-drums, a lot of the parameters are tweakable- different zones, sensitivities, 'models', etc. The drummer using it needs to own the sound, learn the machine, and make some adjustments.

    On the sets I played, they were higher end Roland, but a little older. The cymbal pads were pretty responsive, but still felt a bit like Tupperware lids. A lot of the harmonics are missing. But in the end it still sounded ok for what we were doing.

    Even at that, the differences are usually pretty subtle and nothing a good musician can't make work.

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  • Deuce
    replied
    I play through a Super Sonic 22 and a Mustang Floor. But my church has a fairly high volume praise set. As a former drummer, I can hear an electronic set right from the start of a song. The bass is stronger and the cymbals just don't sound realistic to me.

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  • DunedinDragon
    replied
    +1000 Mike!!!

    Not to mention 99.9% of the audience can't tell the difference.

    By the way, that's cool Mike. I also play through a '57 Fender Deluxe..at least on some songs. Other times I play on a 65 Twin, an AC15 Vox or several others in my Mustang IV amp..
    Last edited by DunedinDragon; 05-27-2014, 01:42 PM.

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